Brightness

August 11, 2015

“A tremendous weight has been placed on each of your shoulders, and it is the weight of your own life. It is a tremendous and perfect gift, this life, but it is also full of density, full of the material, full of weightiness. It is a thing of responsibility and, very often, of burden, and though none of us wish to leave it, it is, without a doubt, difficult to bear at times and the carrying of it hard on our hope. We incarnate out of a place of total weightlessness, a place without the kind of heaviness brought on by a body and a mind, brought on by needs and by desires but, most intensely, brought on by confusion. We come here from a source not composed of material, without the ties and binds of physical matter, and without the burden of any kind of individuality, and so, when we come here and each of us assumes ‘my body’, ‘my heartbeat’, ‘my self’, we assume also a tremendous weight. And many of us bow under that; without even thinking about it our shoulders stoop, our heads lower, our gaze is downward and our aspect becomes that of one with too much to carry. And in this stooping, in the bending we start to give way to, we forget that the whole paradox of life here requires that we be upward pointing, open, ever, with a face towards hope despite the obvious confines of our bodies and our minds. The truth is that we should all be very depressed. We are certain to die; almost as certainly that death will be preceded by illness and pain, sufferings both small and acute, psychological disturbances, emotional upheaval, and when none of that is happening, tremendous boredom. We are destined to always have needs, and to struggle to fulfill those. We are constituted this way and we are constituted with the awareness required to know that this is how things are and how things will end. And yet almost everyone has some measure of inner brightness, some small bit of subtle surety that everything can and will be good, that there are things here that make all the difficulties worthwhile, and that there is probably something here so profoundly beautiful, so deeply wonder-filled, that none of the rest of it matters at all in the face of that. And we are all right in that small place of inner brightness. That hope, mixed with longing but grounded in truth, is the whole reason that we can and should turn our weighty selves and the whole heavy act of living this life towards hope, towards brightness, towards a kind of optimism that nothing in this world would seem to support. We have a deep sense that holiness of some sort is real, and however it might be described or discussed, however it is defined and whatever its name, it is the same spark of holiness that everyone alive is capable of perceiving, and it is truly the only real and abiding reason to be merry. It is the foundation of all those little shifts in you that lend you greater happiness, and it is truly what makes all of this okay. We are going to die and it will not matter. There will be pain and heartbreak and deep confusion and it will not make any difference because we, like that, and as that, are holy ourselves, through and through, and cannot be separated from that from whence we came. And so we are weighty indeed, but it is the weight of holiness even. We are doomed indeed, but that is just holiness beginning again. And what I most want to say to all of you is that you already know this. That if you did not, you would never smile, you would never have any true joy, you would never find anything beautiful, and you would never love anything at all. But you do know, so be very glad, and remember.”

2 Responses to “Brightness”

  1. tiramit said

    I find this deeply encouraging somehow, today, exactly what I needed to read. Thank you…

  2. Michael said

    What Tiramit said! You say something profound here, in a way that mixes the sky with the earth– the eternal with the present. There really is no reason when looks at the world a certain way, to be glad at all… and yet it emerges as the truest grace we’ll ever know…

    Michael

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